Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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‘You just to have keep trying and never give up’

Hamilton trainer Tony Harding broke a long run of outs at Tara Raceway on Thursday when pint-sized rank outsider Penshurst Lass was successful in the Greg Martlew Autos Maiden Stake (400 metres).

Tony Harding pictured at Tara Raceway in January 2019 with Jimary Siesta.

Lining up for start number 23, and with just one third-placing to her name, the 22.6 kilogram daughter of Lightning Frank and Jimary Siesta quickly settled in second spot behind Sea Storm Bay before taking the lead off the back.

From then on Penshurst Lass was never in any danger of defeat, going to the line with 2¼ lengths to spare over Menari Hugh in a personal best time of 23.89 seconds. This was the litter’s sixth individual winner.

And it has to be said, Harding was certainly all smiles after the race but with no idea as to when he had trained his last winner.

“To be honest, I can’t remember when that was, so obviously it was a fair while ago,” he said. Turns out it was back on October 10, 2019 with Billy Deeds.

Penshurst Lass is owned by Dennis Peach and Cathy Flaven who purchased the blue bitch as a pup from Penshurst breeder Brendan Bunworth. She was then reared at Berringa Park by Michael Niele before being broken-in at Koroit by Peter Byrne.

Making her debut back in September at Horsham, the December 2019 whelping’s first win had been a while coming for The Blue Syndicate and Harding.

“I’d moved her around a bit in that time, also taking in Warrnambool and Murray Bridge. But my thoughts with greyhounds are that you just have to keep trying and never give up,” Harding said.

Penshurst Lass after her upset win at Tara Raceway on Thursday pictured with trainer Tony Harding.

Incidentally, Harding also finished third in Thursday’s race with recent giveaway Flatty Hunter. By Zambora Brockie out of Lektra Viki, she’s a litter sister to Lektra Nick and Lektra Sammy who later in the day brought up a double for Ararat trainer Doug Hammerstein.

Harding’s interest in greyhound racing goes back 25 years ago to when he was living at Branxholme and became involved with Tracie Price and his family.

But from a Mount Gambier point of view Harding will always be best remembered for his greyhound Jen Shen who raced on 207 occasions, the majority of those at Tara Raceway.

He says he still remembers that morning back in early 2015 when was at a trial track with former Tahara trainer Bernie Rogers and how he came to end up with Jen Shen.

“I was there helping him trial his dogs. However, the then unnamed Jen Shen was in the trailer and doing a great job of trashing her compartment.

“That was the last straw for Bernie who went off his head. He said I could have the bloody thing and promptly signed her over to me.”

Ultimately, in a four-year racing career Jen Shen won three races and ran 13 minor placings for stakemoney of $8,841.

Like Harding says, though, you just have to keep trying and never give up.

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